The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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November 20, 2012

Strategies for Black Friday success

(Continued)

Q: What are these price matches I keep hearing about?

A: You should study up on price-matching policies. Target and Best Buy are implementing aggressive price matches and will match the prices of Walmart.com and Amazon.com during the holiday season. This is great news for consumers. And it's not over once you purchase: You can use price matches if the item goes on sale in-store after you buy. So stay alert, and as always, keep your receipts!

Q: Everyone is talking about QR codes and smartphones. Do I need a smartphone to save?

A: No, you don't need a smartphone to save. But "it can be a great tool if you know how to use it," O'Hara said. "You can use various apps to scan QR codes [for price comparisons]." Deal Hunter has written previously about our favorite shopping apps. But you should continue to compare prices, before and after you buy.

Q: I get caught up in the frenzy and buy stuff I don't need. How do I avoid this?

A: "Leverage the return policy," LaRosa said. According to the National Retail Federation, $217 billion in merchandise purchased last Black Friday was returned. Holidays are the best time to correct shopping mistakes. "That's when retailers are relaxed," he said. "They make it easier to return."

Q: This sounds stressful, and I'm tired of waiting in long November lines. Will sales be better after Black Friday?

A: You're not going to find a door buster after Black Friday. But there will be holiday sales well into January. "Brick-and-mortar stores are competing more than ever for foot traffic, so be prepared to hear about new deals after Black Friday," LaRosa said. But no deal is worth losing your sanity.

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